Oh Mountain – Wind Will Not Shake You

A reader of this blog sent me the following message:

Hi Arabic Genie … noticed your blog & was very impressed .. saw that you translated in arabic for people… not too good with computers so didnt know how to post but noticed an email address ..

There is a saying in arabic “Ya Jabil May Hazak Reeh” not sure exactly how its spelt but i know that is how its pronouced …

Are you able to translate to arabic font ?

It took me a while to figure out the saying from the transliteration provided, because I was confused by the word “May” (thinking that it referred to “water”). I then realized that the “y” forms part of the next word: “ya jabil ma yhazak reeh”. Making some guesses, I finally arrived at this:

يا جبل ما يهزك ريح

(yaa djabal maa yahuzzak reeH)

Literally, this translates as: “oh mountain, wind can’t/won’t shake you”. I hadn’t seen this proverb before, and only a few results come up on Google. Basically, I guess it means that one should be as strong as a mountain in the face of adversity.

Perhaps a native speaker can provide some examples of usage?

Here is an image of the saying:

Ya djabal maa yuhazzak reeH

One thing to note is that the saying is colloquial, not formal Arabic. However, the negation ما (maa) is used in most dialects and understood everywhere.

2 thoughts on “Oh Mountain – Wind Will Not Shake You

  1. Kind of means, wind can’t shake something as strong as a mountain. Used as an encourgement for people, or someone would say it to demonstrate their resillience in the face of hardship.

    Pronouned:
    Yaa jabal maa yhezek reeh. (the J is pronounced witout the d sound in the beginning, not dj, but j)

    BTW, maa is in classical Arabic and used in Quran as well.

  2. Thanks for adding the useful information! The pronunciation of the letter “djeem” varies according to the region, but in Modern Standard Arabic it is generally pronounced with a “d”-sound before the “j” (though, even when speaking fuS-Ha many Arabs in the Shami region pronounce it as simply “j” and many Egyptians pronounce it as “g”). The confusion about this may arise from the transcription system, where “j” simply stands fro the French “j” sound (as in “jour”) and “dj” stands for the English “j” sound (as in “Jim” or “jail”).

    The pronunciation “yhezek” is not strictly Modern Standard Arabic, but rather colloquial. Of course you are right that the negation “maa” is also sometimes used to negate the imperfect (present) tense (see here).

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